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November 12, 2014

Fidelity Takes Lead Role in Rise of Donor-Advised Funds

The Boston Globe writes about the rapid growth of Fidelity Charitable, the donor-advised fund poised to become the country's biggest philanthropic entity.

The article assesses reasons for the rise of such funds, registered charities that make grants out of donations by clients. They have become increasingly popular giving vehicles for wealthy donors but have been criticized by some legal and nonprofit experts as too slow to distribute to charity the billions of dollars they take in annually from clients.

An arm of Boston-based financial giant Fidelity Investments, Fidelity Charitable took in $3.7-billion last year, placing it second in The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Philanthropy 400 survey of the largest U.S. charities. In the first nine months of 2014, giving to Fidelity matched the 2013 total to the United Way, the longtime No. 1. The trend is reshaping U.S. giving, with traditional charities starting their own donor-advised funds and local organizations targeting the major funds' clients, the Globe says.

Read recent Chronicle opinion columns on the pros and cons of donor-advised funds' growing impact.